• Matt Oehl

The Draft Academy: Mock Draft 7.0

We are slowly getting closer to draft day and the closer we get the more clarity we're getting, especially at the top of the draft. Everybody was expecting the Jets to take a quarterback with the 2nd pick and now it is a lock with the Jets trading former 3rd overall pick, 23-year-old Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for a 2nd, 4th, and 6th round pick in future drafts. This also potentially takes the Panthers out of the quarterback conversation in this draft with how young Darnold is they are most likely going to try to do the exact opposite of what the Jets did and build around him.

1. Jacksonville Jaguars Trevor Lawrence QB Clemson

Nothing needs to be said here. Trevor Lawrence has been the pick for the Jags since the Urban Meyer hiring and even before then. I believe he is a generational prospect who can turn a team like the Jaguars into a consistent playoff contender.

2. New York Jets Zach Wilson QB BYU

I had a lot of confidence in the Jets taking Wilson with the 2nd overall pick before they traded Sam Darnold. Now with Darnold out it is a lock that the Jets take a QB and I along with many other people believe it is going to be Wilson. He has such an intriguing combination of traits that some people are willing to compare him to Patrick Mahomes. I'm not quite at that level with Wilson but I Iike him a lot and think he can be a franchise QB with the Jets.

3. San Francisco 49ers Mac Jones QB Alabama

Everything I see in regards to this pick is that it is going to be Mac Jones. An interesting thought I was told was that the 49ers purposefully had it leak that they were tied to Jones in order to prepare their fans for the pick. With many fans, analysts, and members of the media not sold on Jones, the 49ers fan base was sold that he shouldn't be the pick here. I'm a big fan of Jones and think he is being criminally underrated.

*4. New England Patriots Justin Fields QB Ohio State

TRADE: NE receives 2021 4th overall pick

: ATL receives 2021 15th over all pick, 3rd round pick

2022 1st + 2nd round pick

2023 2nd + 3rd round pick

The Patriots were extremely aggressive in free agency and I think that continues here in the 1st round of the draft where they trade up to select Ohio State QB Justin Fields. Fields is my 3rd ranked quarterback and could be a perfect fit in New England where it looks like they are trying to shift to a more athletic, mobile QB after the loss of Tom Brady. Cam Newton isn't going to be a long-term solution in my opinion but he gives them the option to be patient with Fields in his first year.

5. Cincinnati Bengals Ja'Marr Chase WR LSU

The depth of this draft class at the offensive line position is the reason I'm giving the Bengals Ja'Marr Chase. With the way the league is shifting to these QBs who are asking for trades, I believe more and more teams are going to want to make their QB happy. By giving Joe Burrow his favorite target from college, Ja'Marr Chase, he should have no reason to be upset, especially if the Bengals can grab a solid offensive lineman like Wyatt Davis or Landon Dickerson in the 2nd round.

6. Miami Dolphins Devonta Smith WR Alabama

I was in-between Pitts and Smith with this pick but with Will Fuller only signing for one year I think Smith would be the better option, especially since there is already chemistry between Smith and current Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa.

7. Detroit Lions Jaylen Waddle WR Alabama

The Lions made a massive trade that sent QB Matthew Stafford to the Rams for QB Jared Goff and multiple picks. Their WR room lost both Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay and will need to replace them. Jaylen Waddle could end up being the best WR in this class and brings an absurd amount of explosion every time he steps on the field.

8. Carolina Panthers Kyle Pitts TE Florida

Like I said above, I think that the Panthers are going to do everything they can to build as much talent around Sam Darnold. Pitts is a freak and will be able to dominate anywhere he lines up. With Robby Anderson, DJ Moore, Christian McCaffrey, and Kyle Pitts, Sam Darnold have gone from one of the worst situations to one of the best. Also, add on the fact that Joe Brady is the offensive coordinator and things are looking really good for the Panthers.

9. Denver Broncos Micah Parsons LB Penn State

The Broncos are in an interesting position. Drew Lock did not have a good year last year but was without number one wideout in Cortland Sutton. I would like to see a full year of Drew Lock with a completely healthy team and I think the Broncos want to know what they have in him. So, instead of a QB, I have the Broncos taking one of the best defensive prospects in this class. Parsons is a freak, every-down linebacker who will immediately make a difference on this defense.

10. Dallas Cowboys Penei Sewell OT Oregon

Having Sewell fall was hard. He could go as early as 4-5 to the Falcons or Bengals but in this situation, he fell. The Cowboys dealt with a lot of injuries last season and their offensive line used to be the best in the league, is starting to age and fall apart slowly. Tyron Smith is now 30 years old and has dealt with some injuries throughout his career. By bringing in Sewell they now have their future left tackle and can afford to lose or move Smith to a different position if they need to.

11. New York Giants Jaelan Phillips EDGE Miami

The Giants were another team that was very aggressive in free agency, resigning Leonard Williams to a massive deal, bringing in both Adoree' Jackson and Kenny Golladay, and are now missing one very important piece to their defense. They don't have any good edge rushers and drafting Phillips could be that last piece they need. Phillips is a boom or bust pick in my opinion with his injury history and pure athletic ability he could be anywhere from a pro bowl player to retire in under 5 years.

12. Philadelphia Eagles Patrick Surtain II CB Alabama

The Eagles traded back with the idea that they wouldn't be able to draft Zach Wilson or Ja'Marr Chase. Patrick Surtain II is far from a consolation prize. He is my top-ranked corner and is by far the most technically sound in this draft in my opinion. The Eagles require another corner to line up opposite Darius Slay and this would be a perfect pick for them.

13. Chicago Bears Trey Lance QB NDSU

TRADE: CHI receives 2021 13th overall pick

LAC receives 2021 20th overall pick + 3rd round pick

2022 3rd round pick

As of now, the Bears are going into the season with Andy Dalton and Nick Foles as their options at QB. If I am the GM of the Bears, I am far from satisfied with those options. With Lance falling in this mock I have them trading up to pick the QB out of North Dakota. Lance is really tough to scout, having only one year of experience he is the ultimate boom or bust prospect as he has the arm, athletic ability, and played in a pro-style offense. He is a player who can be compared to Josh Allen in the sense that he is going to be a multi-year project and the Bears will need to buy into his development.

14. Minnesota Vikings Rashawn Slater OT Northwestern

The Vikings lost tackle Riley Reiff in free agency and will immediately be able to replace him with Slater. Slater is a better fit at right tackle or either guard position in my opinion and the Vikings require multiple offensive line positions so Slater is a great fit.

15. Atlanta Falcons Kwity Paye EDGE Michigan

TRADE: See pick 4

The Falcons traded out of the 4th pick in this scenario and see my top-ranked edge rusher fall to them. I think the Falcons can still get multiple years out of Matt Ryan and should wait on drafting a QB. Paye is a beast off the edge and has the versatility to line up all over the field, even lining up as a nose tackle while at Michigan. He brings an excellent combination of power, explosiveness, and athletic ability to rush the passer and stuff the run.

16. Arizona Cardinals Caleb Farley CB Virginia Tech

Caleb Farley seems to be falling mock draft boards due to the back surgery he recently had. Farley easily has the potential to become a lockdown corner in this league with someone like Jalen Ramsey. His biggest question mark is his health as he had multiple issues in college. I think he's well worth the risk at the 16th pick as the Cardinals look to replace long-time lockdown corner, Patrick Peterson.

17. Las Vegas Raiders Teven Jenkins OT Oklahoma St

The Raiders made some interesting moves in trading or releasing three of their five starting lineman from last season and then signing Kenyan Drake with Josh Jacobs already in the backfield. They added some solid pieces on defense in free agency so they should look to replace the offensive line. Jenkins is a mauler and exactly what Jon Gruden looks for in his lineman.

18. Miami Dolphins Gregory Rousseau EDGE Miami

The Dolphins were able to add a weapon on offense in Devonta Smith and now look to the defensive side of the ball where they take edge rusher, Gregory Rousseau. He has an amazing 2019 season before he opted out. He is a developmental prospect who won with his size, length, and athletic ability. His hand technique will need to improve if he wants to become an elite edge rusher in the NFL.

19. Washington Football Team Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah LB Notre Dame

The Football Team misses out on the top quarterbacks this draft so they decide to go to the other side of the ball where Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah comes in. Jeremiah is a super athletic, hard-hitting linebacker that has shown he can be a difference-maker in the passing game. The biggest area where he needs to improve is in the run game where there are times that he can struggle to deconstruct blocks.

20. Los Angeles Chargers Alija Vera-Tucker OT USC

TRADE: See pick 13

In this scenario, the Chargers trade down and still can draft the player I would have them draft at pick 13. Alija Vera-Tucker is a beast. He has shown that he can play at both the tackle and guard positions, but I project him as a guard in the NFL. He is great in both the run game and pass protection and the Chargers need to prioritize surrounding Justin Herbert with as much talent as possible.

21. Indianapolis Colts Jaycee Horn CB South Carolina

The cornerback position isn't necessarily a need for the Colts in my opinion, but Jaycee Horn is a popular pick lately and seems to be flying up boards, often landing in the top 15 picks. Horn is a big, athletic corner who knows how to play a physical brand of press-man coverage. My biggest knock on him is his hip flexibility and he tends to get grabby at the top of the route.

22. Tennessee Titans Rashod Bateman WR Minnesota

If Bateman falls to the Titans they NEED to pick him. After losing Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith to free agency the Titans are now lacking offensive weapons behind AJ Brown. Bateman is one of the most underrated prospects in this class in my opinion and would be a perfect fit for this offense. He can win down the field and is willing to make aggressive plays over the middle of the field when he knows he is going to get hit. Pairing him with AJ Brown could lead to a deadly duo on that Titans offense.

23. New York Jets Greg Newsome III CB Northwestern

The Jets have a lot of needs at a lot of the most important positions on a football team. They filled one hole with Zach Wilson with the 2nd pick. Now they look to fill another hole in their secondary. Greg Newsome is another prospect who I believe is underrated and could find his way into the 1st round. He is an athletic corner who can play in any system, whether it prioritizes man or zone he can do it. Like Horn, the only issue I have with him is that he can be grabby when the ball is in the air.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers Christian Darrisaw OT Virginia Tech

The Pittsburgh Steelers require a few important positions on the offensive side of the ball. With Alejandro Villanueva looking like he isn't going to come back, Christian Darrisaw can step right in and take over as the starting left tackle. My biggest issue with Darrisaw is that he will take plays off.

25. Jacksonville Jaguars Trevon Moehrig S TCU

The Jags made some really good moves this offseason and look to add Trevor Lawrence with the first overall pick this year. Trevon Moehrig is my 1st ranked safety in this class and he brings a ball-hawking mentality to the football field. He can line up as the Jag's single high free safety and bring a lot of ball production. He needs to develop in the run game though as he can be very inconsistent with his tackling.

26. Cleveland Browns Zaven Collins LB Tulsa

Zaven Collins is another player who I believe is being overlooked. He can immediately come in and play all three downs for the Browns. He is amazing in pass coverage and at 260 moves extremely well. The Browns are right on the edge of being a Super Bowl contender and I believe Collins can help them take that next step.

27. Baltimore Ravens Azeez Ojulari EDGE Georgia

The Ravens lost multiple edge defenders in free agency this season and will need to replace those spots in the draft. Azeez Ojulari is a speed rusher off the edge and he is someone who I believe will need to take a few seasons before he can develop into a real difference-maker but he can immediately come in and make a difference on passing downs strictly with his speed.

28. New Orleans Saints Terrace Marshall Jr. WR LSU

The Saints are one of the harder teams to mock in my opinion as they have some obvious holes and could go many different ways with this pick but in this scenario I have them taking Marshall out of LSU. Lining up Marshall on the opposite side of Michael Thomas would help Winston, who I believe will be their starter. Marshall is a big receiver with great straight-line speed and can consistently win down the field.

29. Green Bay Packers Asante Samuel Jr. CB FSU

I've had the Packers take Samuel in previous mocks and for some reason, I just keep coming back to it. With the way Kevin King performed in the NFC Championship, the Packers have to be in the market for a CB2 to line up opposite Jaire Alexander. Samuel is a tough corner who is great in man coverage. His biggest improvement needs to come in his ability to turn his head and find the ball when in man.

30. Buffalo Bills Najee Harris RB Alabama

The Bills are in the market for a CB2 like the Packers but with a talent like Najee on the board, it is going to be hard to pass him up. Adding Harris to the backfield with Josh Allen makes this offense even better as Harris can is phenomenal as both a runner and a pass-catcher and will help the Bills take that next step of pushing for a Super Bowl.

31. Kansas City Chiefs Jalen Mayfield OT Michigan

The Chiefs decided to release both of their starting tackles from last season and will need to release at least one of them. With the signing of Joe Thuney, the interior offensive line should be solid. Jalen Mayfield does not have a lot of games under his belt but he played a very intense schedule against some top-tier pass rushers. I have him as my 3rd ranked lineman with the upside to be one of the best in this class in my opinion.

32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Travis Etienne RB Clemson

This would just be unfair. The Bucs were able to bring back their entire starting 22 but with Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones in the backfield, the Bucs are lacking a 3rd down change of pace back that Tom Brady has always had. Etienne is one of the most explosive backs in this class and is capable of taking any touch to the endzone.

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